In rare rebuke, President Trump rips conservative cable network: "Fox sure ain't what it used to be"

Trump's rebuke followed what he alleged was a "softball" interview with one of his chief critics in Congress

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 24, 2019 10:06AM (EDT)

Donald Trump; Martha MacCallum (AP/Alex Brandon/Getty/Theo Wargo)
Donald Trump; Martha MacCallum (AP/Alex Brandon/Getty/Theo Wargo)

President Donald Trump blasted Fox News, the conservative cable network with which he is usually on good terms, claiming on Monday that the outlet "sure ain't what it used to be."

The president's criticism followed what he alleged was a "softball" interview with one of his chief critics in Congress, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.

"Just watched Rep. Eric Swalwell be asked endless softball questions by @marthamaccallum on @FoxNews about the phony Witch Hunt. He was just forced out of the Democrat Presidential Primary because he polled at ZERO. Fox sure ain’t what it used to be. Too bad!" Trump tweeted on Tuesday night.

He later added, "Oh well, we still have the great @seanhannity who I hear has a really strong show tonight. 9:00 P.M."

Earlier this month, Swalwell became the second Democrat to drop out of the race for the party's 2020 presidential nomination. (Former West Virginia State Sen. Richard Ojeda briefly entered the nominating contest earlier this year.)

"After the first Democratic presidential debate, our polling and fundraising numbers weren’t what we had hoped for, and I no longer see a path forward to the nomination. My presidential campaign ends today," Swalwell said at the time.

This is not the first time in recent weeks that Trump has torn into Fox News. He recently compared the conservative news network to "low ratings Fake News @CNN."

"Watching @FoxNews weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News @CNN, or Lyin’ Brian Williams (remember when he totally fabricated a War Story trying to make himself into a hero, & got fired" Trump tweeted earlier this month.

During an interview with Salon in April, MacCallum said she hoped to cover both Democrats and Republicans on her network during the course of the 2020 elections. At the time, she was hosting a town hall meeting with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who is among the candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.

"We would very much like an opportunity to host one of their debates," MacCallum told Salon, referring to the Democratic National Committee's decision to not allow Fox News host one of its sanctioned debates. "We have said, both Bret [Baier] and I, that we hope that they will continue to keep that door open. It sounds like it's not open at the moment, but we really hope that these forums will keep that an open question going forward. And I think that the candidates should push back on it. I think that they should want to talk to us for the same reason that Bernie Sanders has, I think, rightly decided that this is a good place for him to be."

During an interview with Salon last year, Swalwell vowed to use his oversight power as a member of the judiciary and intelligence panels to aggressively investigate the president.

"We’re going to conduct the oversight role that we are responsible for, especially where Republicans gave Donald Trump presidential immunity for two years," Swalwell told Salon. "This guy has had two years of just free passes where he has not been reined in, and so, you’re essentially . . . It’s like essentially being responsible for a child for two years who’s had no rules and no accountability. It’s going to be a wake-up call for the president. I think he saw that in real time yesterday when he met with Leader Pelosi and Leader Schumer. We’ll investigate where the Republicans didn’t, and that means filling in the gaps with the Russian investigation, that means seeing his taxes to see if his financial interests are driving foreign and domestic policy. That means looking at how people are cashing in on access that he gives them . . . how he’s cashing in on access that he gives people to the White House."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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